Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. A press release came in on Friday to announce that Malcolm McMillian is the new chef de cuisine, and the Asheville Citizen Times confirmed that Shanti had stepped down to create a restaurant group based in Asheville. She tells the Times that she wants to create a company that will empower workers in the food and beverage business.
While at Benne on Eagle, Shanti was nominated as James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef and was named an Eater 2019 Young Gun. In a profile of Shanti, Eater contributor Osayi Endolyn writes, “Since beginning at Benne on Eagle last fall, Shanti’s menu, rich with spices, memory, and a remix of tradition, has attracted regular diners and popular industry figures alike, all enamored with her dexterity. Her cooking brings forward a part of Appalachia that many haven’t heard about, or have forgotten.”
While Shanti brought Appalachian and West African touches to the kitchen, they will likely not disappear from the menu at Benne on Eagle, as she moves on to build her own food empire.
• Ashleigh Shanti Steps Down From Benne on Eagle With Plans to Create Restaurant Group [Asheville Citizen Times]
• The Past as Possibility in the Appalachian South [E]